Obrázky na stránke





[ocr errors]





HE French editor has given a full account of the following pieces. I think it needlefs to recommend them: they are the late Archbishop of CAMBRAY's. fome apology however may be expected for my undertaking a tranflation that deferved the finest pen. all I can fay, without the appearance of vanity, is, that I was afraid it should fall into worfe hands. I have more reason to make fome excufe for the unusual liberty I have taken in translating the Dialogues. 'tis what I could not avoid. their ftile is extremely concife; sometimes obfcure. and the Paris-edition, (the standard of the other,) is fo faulty, not only in those places that are mark'd among the unaccurate errata, but throughout the

[ocr errors]

Dialogues, that either they never had the
author's finishing hand; or they must
have been published from a very defective
copy. in order therefore to do him juftice,
I found it neceffary to cloath his thoughts
in an English dress, without confining
myself always to a strict tranflation of the
French. accordingly I have paraphrafed
feveral paffages; tranfpofed a few; and ad-
ded whatever seemed proper to fet his true
fentiments in the fullest light. I would not
have taken so much freedom with any
piece that the author published in his life-
time, the Letter to the French Academy,
that was published some years
before his
death, is far more correct. in tranflating
it I have kept as close to his ftile as our
language would permit. I have not indeed
always expreffed myself fo fuccinctly as
he: nor did I endeavour it. tho' I admire

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

conciseness, I prefer perfpicuity, when I cannot be both short and clear.

To illuftrate and confirm our author's notions I have adorned this tranflation with many inftructive, beautiful paffages, collected from fome of the finest writers both antient, and modern; which are not in the French edition. I have likewise added fome few passages of another kind. the quotations themselves, and the placing of the marks of reference, clearly point out the view with which each paffage is quoted. if, for this purpose, I had everywhere added introductory notes of my own, the reader would have had reason to complain of my distrusting his judgment.

Some critics will think I have too often neglected fuch connecting particles as for, but, feeing, &c. there is a peculiar beauty in this omiffion: and I hould

have left-out many more, if I had clofely followed our author's example, or my own judgment. but too much must not be attempted at once.

Throughout the following fheets perhaps there are still too many marks of inaccuracy. I wish they may pass for inftances of that affected negligence our author recommends. his Letter plainly fhews that he would not always avoid every little defect: nor ought it to be expected of his tranflator, if he could. an elaborate ftile, and a fcrupulous exactnefs, are inconfiftent with the familiar strain of a dialogue. it were easy to prove that the free, and feemingly carelefs manner which might be blameable in other pieces, is really beautiful here; as being a just imitation of nature----but I will not lengthen this advertisement into a preface.

« PredošláPokračovať »